Sam Emerson/Polaris
Mike Fleeman
June 19, 2011 01:20 PM

For Bruce Springsteen, a blinding light went dark.

The rocker paid tribute to his longtime friend and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died Saturday at age 69 from complications of a stroke.

“Clarence lived a wonderful life,” Springsteen, 61, said on his Web site. “He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage.”

Calling the loss of the E Street Band member “immeasurable,” Springsteen gave thanks to have known the towering 6′, 4″ sideman he called The Big Man for nearly 40 years.

RELATED: Clarence Clemons Dies After Suffering a Stroke

“He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music,” says Springsteen. “His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”

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